Governor Terry McAuliffe announced a historic, bipartisan deal January 29 that will keep guns away from domestic abusers and people who cannot pass background checks. The governor was joined by Speaker Howell, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and other members of the General Assembly while making the announcement.
“This bipartisan deal to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who cannot pass background checks will save lives,” said McAuliffe. “Give and take is essential to every negotiation, but the balance of this deal changes Virginia law permanently in ways that will keep guns away from people who would use them for harm. I want to thank all of the leaders who put politics aside and stood up for this bipartisan compromise to make our families safer.”
The announced deal will pave the way for the first meaningful steps on preventing gun violence in 23 years.
“I appreciate the Governor, Attorney General Herring, Secretary Moran, Senator Reeves and Chairman Lingamfelter for getting us here today. This is not an area where many people would have predicted an accord, but we are here because of their hard work,” said Speaker Howell. “Protecting reciprocity for Virginia’s law-abiding citizens was a major priority for the House of Delegates. We have achieved an agreement that will ensure the constitutional rights of Virginians are protected. We are also sending a clear signal about the mutual willingness of both parties to protect victims of domestic violence. This a good deal for the Commonwealth.”
“I am happy to have been able to work with my colleagues to reach agreement on this deal today, which includes protecting the rights of 421,000 Virginians who hold concealed carry handgun permits,” said Senator Bryce Reeves. “I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working together to find a solution that protects law-abiding Virginians and makes the entire Commonwealth safer. Today’s announcement truly exemplifies the Virginia Way.”
“I am grateful that we have been able to find common ground with our Republican colleagues to advance legislation that will help reduce gun violence,” said Delegate Kathleen Murphy. “Some may be disappointed in the compromise, but it is critical to support efforts to prevent gun violence and to save the lives of victims of domestic abuse. Today we found a yes. We demonstrated that we can work together across the aisle to pass legislation to advance gun safety. That’s a victory.”
“Keeping Virginians safe is the most important responsibility public leaders have,” said Secretary Moran. “I am proud that we were able to strike a historic accord that will keep guns out of the hands of people who would use them for harm. This was a difficult negotiation, and we will continue the fight to prevent gun violence in our Commonwealth – but we should celebrate the considerable progress we made together today.”
The gun safety deal encompasses the following bills:
Voluntary Background Checks at Firearms Shows: Delegate Lingamfelter (HB1386) and Senator Edwards (SB715)
• Currently, only firearms dealers with a federal firearms license (FFL) can access the National Instant Checks System (NICS) to perform background checks on firearms purchases/transfers.
• The Virginia State Police cannot access the system on behalf of private citizens selling or transferring firearms.
• This bill would give the Virginia State Police statutory authority to perform background checks on behalf of private citizens at firearms shows, which is required by the FBI.
• Private sellers feel it is their civic duty to obtain the results of a background check prior to selling or transferring a firearm and they currently do not have the ability to access background checks for this purpose. This would allow them access on voluntary cases.
• This bill requires the Virginia State Police to be present at every firearms show in the Commonwealth to perform background checks on a voluntary basis.
Protective orders: Delegate Murphy and Senator Howell
• Currently, a person subject to a protective order is prohibited from purchasing or transporting a firearm, but not from possessing a firearm.
• This bill would prohibit a person subject to a permanent protective order from possessing a firearm for the duration of the order.
• Permanent protective orders are issued by a judge and are served to the subject. They can last up to 2 years and can be extended by the judge as necessary.
• This bill allows the subject of the protective order 24 hours to transfer or sell the firearm to a non-prohibited person. The subject of the protective order may possess or transport the firearm during that 24-hour period only for the purposes of selling or transferring the firearm.
• If a person violates this section, they could be guilty of a class 6 felony.
Reciprocity: Delegate Webert (HB1163) and Senator Reeves (SB610)
• Reciprocity for all states with a concealed carry permitting process.
• Prevents state-shopping. If a person has ever been revoked in Virginia, they cannot go to another state to get a permit and have that permit be recognized in Virginia.
• Retains the 24-hour verification clause for law enforcement purposes which allows the VSP or other law enforcement agencies to verify the validity of a permit for an out-of-state person 24 hours a day when states that offer that process. Permit-holders must carry another valid state-issued ID for the purpose of verification.
• Governor McAuliffe will also extend the effective date for the planned implementation of the revocation of reciprocity agreements with other states to March 1. ¡